Friday, June 19, 2009

Zanti Claws is coming to town

I was watching "The Zanti Misfits" episode of the classic Outer Limits TV show the other day. You remember that one, right? It's the one with the little (well, hand size) bug/spider-like aliens with HUMAN faces.

The "misfits" are actually criminals from another world, their sentence exile on Earth. Well, of course they run afoul of the military and in one scene the Zanti overrun an Air Force command center. PANEDEMONIUM ENSUES! One dude, an MP-type runs off-screen, his .45 blasting away, and a second later comes crashing down the stairs covered in Zanti!

These folks in "Zanti" were in the fight of their lives against some pretty rudimentary special effects (the Misfits were done with some limited stop motion animation, or, in most shots, with a rubber dummy prop) and they performed with complete conviction, as if acting opposite Marlon Brando and Laurence Olivier instead of rubber bugs. My point being that science fiction shows and movies often have better acting than their more traditional non-genre cousins. In other words, I'd like to see someone like Dr. McDreamy on Grey's Anatomy fall down a flight of stairs covered in Zanti Misfits and make you believe it!

If they could, I smell Emmy Awards.


  1. I love this particular observation, partly because it's so true and partly because it's something I've felt for years.

    It kind of reminds me of a story Harrison Ford told about when he was in acting school (I'll see if I can relate it accurately). Anyway, Ford is on stage playing a scene with another student and his part is that of a Bellhop. When they finish the scene the teacher comes up on stage and, like all good teachers, commences to tell them everything they did wrong. How Ford should have behaved this way or that and how he'll never be a star and how Tony Curtis would have played that part, etc. Ford's reply was "I thought I was supposed to be a Bellhop?".

    So I raise my glass to every actor out there who ever had to play a scene with a rubber prop or with a guy in a rubber suit--or play a scene in a rubber suit holding a rubber prop--and gave their all to make it look REAL (whether they succeeded or not).

  2. I remember that story! The teacher was telling Ford that a true ACK-TOR like Curtis would have put all these ticks and bells and whistles into his performance to stand out, but Ford countered that that approach was wrong if he was supposed to play a simple bellhop.

    Love the dedication in your final paragraph, especially to the guy who "played a scene in a rubber suit holding a rubber prop."

    Hear, hear!